Let’s start the exploration of the use of intention by investigating how what you think of can affect how your body reacts and moves.
The first thing every student learns is how to relax. Every new student, especially those who have learned Tai Chi before, thinks they know how to relax.
But after trying Intention Exercise 1 they found that their conception of what relaxing really is about is flawed. To relax on an external level is not difficult but to relax internally, to the level that is useful for the practice and application of our Tai Chi is much more challenging.
1. Stand upright with both feet together. Try to relax as much as possible in your own way before beginning. I want you to do this as I want you to be able to tell how much you can relax using your own method versus using the method presented here.
2. Divide your body into 5 zones namely :-
i) Zone 1 – head
ii) Zone 2 – chest
iii) Zone 3 – abdomen
iv) Zone 4 – pelvis
v) Zone 5 – legs
3. Imagine that each Zone represents an area of tension. Close your eyes and take a moment to feel each Zone in turn. Done? OK, now we begin the exploration of the principle of Intention Comes First (Yi Zai Xian) which is the first important principle of the Tai Chi method transmitted by Grandmaster Wei Shuren.
1. Imagine a torchlight positioned horizontally in front of you at Zone 1.
2. Now mentally switch the torchlight on.
3. As the torchlight is switched on the beam of light will move through space and shine on your face, momentarily blinding you. If you want the imaginary feeling to be more vivid try closing your eyes when you visualize the light hitting your face.
4. Let’s begin with Zone 1. Imagine that each Zone is a block of butter. The relaxed parts as well as the tensed parts of your body in Zone 1 are mixed together as one.
5. Mentally switch on the torchlight. The light starts to suffuse you and its heat begins to melt Zone 1 which as mentioned in (4) is a block of butter. As the butter melts your tension too melts away. Any other parts of the body in Zone 1 that have been relaxed prior to beginning the exercise should now achieve a higher, more refined level of relaxation.
6. Take your time and let the tension melt away thoroughly from Zone 1. Once this is done you can repeat the process for the remaining 4 Zones.
Unless your body is filled with excessive tension you should feel something interesting the moment your imagination brings the beam of light to shine on your Zone 1 and begins melting your tension away.
If necessary repeat this Intention Exercise as many times as required until you achieve a high stage of relaxation. This is the first important step in learning how to be able to fajing the way you see Grandmaster Wei Shuren does it on his clips such as the example below :-
Most students don’t pay enough attention to cultivating this step, thus even after years of practice they are unable to generate force that is intention-based. So again, if you wish to Master Tai Chi Today don’t neglect the fundamentals.
Note – the exercise presented here is developed from the principles and methods transmitted by Grandmaster Wei Shuren to my teacher and to me. I have not tried to present Grandmaster Wei’s method as outlined in his books because they are difficult enough to learn as it is in person; much less by following a set of instructions over the internet. As such, I have developed simpler methods for teaching the same principles. As they say a rose by any other name ……..
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